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new ceramic sculpture, portraits and still-lifes

April 9 – May 25, 2024

DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Impressions
DIRK STASCHKE, Inverted Portrait with dog and Setting Sun, 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, Inverted Portrait with Setting Sun (Version 2), 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, Inverted Still life with Ceramic Bowl, 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, Inverted Portrait with Momento Mori, 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, The Laughers (Small Version 2), 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, The Laughers (Version 1), 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, Laugher with Fluxed Landscape, 2024
DIRK STASCHKE, Inverted Still life with Plaid Bowl, 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, Inverted Portrait with Landscape, 2023
DIRK STASCHKE, Untitled (ornate frame), 2022

press release

(New Orleans, LA) FERRARA SHOWMAN GALLERY is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition of Portland-based artist Dirk Staschke entitled Impressions. The ten most recent ceramic paintings in the exhibition mark a divergence in the artist’s oeuvre both in subject matter and formal qualities. While Staschke continues to employ references to Dutch still-life painting, a more predominant body of portraiture emerges. Obscured images - both historical and current - tie the past to the present in his ongoing exploration of Vanitas and its array of evocation from pessimism to folly. Furthermore, the artist deepens his interest in three-dimensional perspective through the accent of the void and its resulting illusion which animates his paintings. Rooted in documentary purposes, the work more profoundly confronts the viewer with a cautionary tale . . . or perhaps even a mirror.


The exhibition will be on view from 10 April through 25 May 2024 with an opening reception on Saturday 4 May coinciding with the Arts District of New Orleans’ (ADNO) monthly First Saturday Gallery Openings from 5 – 9 PM.


Staschke expounds on this most recent suite of ceramic sculpture . . .


I think of the subjects in these paintings as voids or impressions where the people and objects used to be, like the footprints of prehistoric peoples left in fossilized mud. The works read as a form of contemporary Vanitas*, where the end is not implied but revealed in the illusion of disappearance.


The last two years have been an investigation of the mold making process and experimentation with Illusions caused by negative space. I am not interested in the illusion itself but instead the moment where the object disappears, the instant the perceived positive state gives way to its own disappearance. Facing this transition as a quiet, physical encounter offers a metaphor for our chaotic place in the continuum of human experience. At times, it is captured as an actual change like a ceramic glaze drip. Other times it is implied through sculptural space.


These works build on twelve years of exploration of Vanitas* painting in the medium of ceramics, through which I’ve blurred the lines of painting and sculpture. I sometimes imagine that there is another dimension in between two- and three-dimensional space that I am trying to uncover, and that by pushing the insides outward or pushing the outsides inward I might find a glimpse of that impossibility. I’m continually intrigued by where it leads me.


What then is the hidden message at the heart of painting? Having long since lost its most basic utility to photography, painting has become an anachronism, yet it still feels so vital. I think its underlying message is one of faith, not in the religious sense, but in the humanistic sense. People paint because it is a fundamentally human activity, and it connects us with our past. In my paintings, the hidden precepts underpinning photography and painting wrestle for the final word. Some of my paintings never surpass their photographic origins, but in others the paint medium prevails, and those paintings carry a heartbeat. Usually though, there is no clear hierarchy between the two media, and the back and forth creates tension. In the beginning, I never quite know what the outcome will be. I merely set the parameters and start painting.

*A 16th and 17th century genre of art which uses symbolism to show the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death.


DIRK STASCHKE is an artist living in Portland Oregon. He received his BFA from the University of Montevallo and his MFA from Alfred University. He has maintained an ongoing studio practice and extensive exhibition record for the last twenty-six years. During this time, he has taught at many notable universities, including Emily Carr University, Alfred University and New York University. His work has been shown internationally and resides in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington (DC), The Museum of Art and Design in New York City, The Portland Art Museum (OR), and the Icheon Museum, World Ceramic Center in Gwango-dong, South Korea.  He has received various artist’s grants including grants from The Virginia Groot Foundation and the Canada Council on the Arts. His current body of work explores the spaces in between sculpture and painting.


For more information, press or sales inquiries please contact Gallery Director Matthew Weldon Showman at 504.343.6827 or Please join the conversation with FSG on Facebook (@FerraraShowmanGallery), Twitter (@FerraraShowman), and Instagram (@FerraraShowmanGallery) via the hashtags: #DirkStaschke, #FerraraShowmanGallery, and #ArtsDistrictNewOrleans.